Melanoma: new insights and new therapies

J Invest Dermatol. 2012 Mar;132(3 Pt 2):854-63. doi: 10.1038/jid.2011.421. Epub 2012 Jan 5.


Metastatic melanoma has historically been considered as one of the most therapeutically challenging malignancies. However, for the first time after decades of basic research and clinical investigation, new drugs have produced major clinical responses. The discovery of BRAF mutations in melanoma created the first opportunity to develop oncogene-directed therapy in this disease and led to the development of compounds that inhibit aberrant BRAF activity. A decade later, vemurafenib, an orally available and well-tolerated selective BRAF inhibitor, ushered in a new era of molecular treatments for advanced disease. Additional targets have been identified, and novel agents that impact on various signaling pathways or modulate the immune system hold the promise of a whole new therapeutic landscape for patients with metastatic melanoma. One of the major thrusts in melanoma therapy is now focused on understanding and targeting the network of signal transduction pathways and on attacking elements that underlie the tumor's propensity for growth and chemoresistance. In this article, we review the novel targeted anticancer approaches that are under consideration in melanoma treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Melanoma* / drug therapy
  • Melanoma* / pathology
  • Melanoma* / physiopathology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Skin Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms* / physiopathology


  • Antineoplastic Agents